Elk and the Adiabatic Lapse Rate Part 5
It has only recently come to my attention that elk from Idaho actually were awake and taking notes when the professor covered the adiabatic lapse rate. For those of you who slept through the lecture it is simply stated as the air temperature decreases by 3 degrees centigrade for every thousand feet elevation increase. It appears that in Morgan Creek area that the particular requirements for elk habitat are met at an elevation of about 7,500 to 7,800 feet and above. By this I mean that there is a patch of pine/fir/spruce of about five acres in size within a half mile of water with plenty of grass and browse nearby. Peculiarly enough snowline appears to be about 7,800 to 8,000 feet and thus the Morgan Creek elk live in or near the snow.
Now then as we mostly all know, water flows downhill, and as the longhaired brunette with the Salmon Idaho fish and Game office explained to me I should go as far down river to camp as possible if I wanted to be warm. So off I trucked down past North Fork to the Clear Creek Campground and my water no longer froze at night because I had dropped 4,000 feet in elevation and picked up nearly 12 degrees C (which is a whole bunch of Fahrenheit). This in and of itself was really great; however, as it turns out the vegetation types that were at 7,500 feet or so in Morgan Creek are found here at 5,100 to 5,400 feet. And to make matters even better there are ten times more elk and ten times more places for them to be and they are way bigger. Thus I can hunt way below snowline and do not have to get anywhere near that ole nasty white stuff. The only fly in the ointment is they are the smart elk who paid attention during the lecture on the Adiabatic lapse rate and that is why they live here, all the dumb ones live over in the snow on Morgan Creek and up high with the woofs.
I do not know if I will kill and elk but there sure is a lot of elk here. More elk than deer as best I can tell.
A good day is when I hike 12-15 miles and find elk and a good shooting spot. A bad day is when I hike that distance and find elk but they are all in the dark timber where you cannot set up for a shot out in the open. A really bad day is when my ankles or knees hurt too much to hike at all. So far it looks like there are two toenails gone and three blisters. For those of you who enjoy voyeurism, you should watch me strip down and wade barefoot across freezing cold streams, trying hard not to slip on the slick rocks and fall down.
Thew other day I walked 12 miles found a gold laced rock at an abandoned mine, missed a ruffed grouse, forded a stream, and found a shooting spot with guaranteed elk. Drawbacks are thats I have to camp on a well used bear trail (I have a tag but would prefer not to fill it at night) and would have to pack the elk out for five miles.
The next day, I nursed a swollen ankle, killed four chukars, found two great fishing spots and found no places where I could shoot elk at distances of more than a few hundred yards. Plus a bowhunter from Wisconsin had his truck parked at one of my sure fire elk herd spots.
The last day before leaving for Wyoming to meet up with Jimm, I ran a trail run on my best spot and sure enough in the eveing some elk came out. Two cows and a calf, no bull showed but I have seen his tracks and know he is there.
The Smokin Fur Rifle Club